Q&A: Senate District 20 John Morton
- NAME: John Morton
- POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
- OCCUPATION: Retired U.S. Air Force and Retired Federal Employee
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Resident for over 36 years/NM Senate District Resident for over 20 years
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: John C. Morton was born in Virginia in 1956 and has made Albuquerque his home for over 36 years. John is married to Deborah Valdez Morton a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico for over 23 years.
- John has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho. John participated in the Reserve Officer Training in college and upon graduation in May 1981 was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.
- John served in the U.S. Air Force/Reserves for over 20 years, and rose to the rank of major. John served as an Intelligence Officer providing critical information to senior level decision makers and special forces operators. In addition, John served in support of Counter Drug Operations with several federal law enforcement agencies fighting the illegal drug threat in our communities.
- John has deployed on eight occasions in support of multiple overseas operations serving approximately thirty months in a combat zone. In May 2005, John retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
- After his Air Force Career, John worked as a federal employee with the U.S. Department of Energy adjudicating security clearances. Since retiring in 2018, he has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America as a Unit/Assistant District Commissioner and the Republican Party serving as a board member with Ward 28.
- EDUCATION: Bachelor of General Studies in May 1981 from the University of Idaho
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: mortonfornm.com
- Campaign email: email@example.com
- What steps should the Legislature take to ensure New Mexico has a balanced budget amid falling oil prices and an economic downturn prompted by the coronavirus outbreak?
With the recent fall in oil prices New Mexico has lost a considerable amount of revenue for the state budget. The Legislature and governor have a duty to balance the budget by cutting spending but not at the expense of taxpayers. There needs to be a state rainy-day fund because of falling oil prices, events like COVID-19 and other disasters. Government should only spend what is absolutely necessary.
- What more, if anything, should the Legislature do to address a court ruling that found New Mexico is failing to provide a sufficient education to all students?
The New Mexico public school system currently fails many New Mexico students. I would propose legislation to improve our education system by holding school districts accountable for results. We should overhaul New Mexico education by providing vocational education to the level of apprenticeship certification at graduation for all New Mexico High School Students not planning to attend college. This will reduce dropout rates, attract industry, and make students self-reliant.
- What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
When comparing New Mexico with other states within our region, NM has a burdensome tax code. The Gross Receipts Tax should be reduced or eliminated by replacing it with a state sales tax.
- Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
I oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico. I served in support of Counter Drug Operations with several federal law enforcement agencies fighting the drug threat in our communities. Marijuana is a cause of concern due to the risk of respiratory issues alone. Finally, the so-called revenue that would allegedly be generated will end up being spent in increased medical and drug treatment costs.
- In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten and child care assistance, and created a new early childhood trust fund. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment that would withdraw more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to increase funding for early childhood services?
I would oppose a constitutional amendment that would withdraw more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to increase funding for early childhood services. New Mexico has the third largest permanent fund in the United States which is primarily funded by the oil and gas industry which is used for education in New Mexico.
- Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?
I would oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party. That logic would have unintended consequences for the outcome of a primary election which I would be opposed to.
- Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaw’s abortion, except in limited circumstances?
Response: I’m opposed to repealing the 1969 New Mexico State law that outlaw’s abortion, except in limited circumstances. Abortions should be rare and only in the most extreme cases such as the life of the mother, incest and rape. Abortion cheapens human life and lowers our morals as a society.
- Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding? Should each legislator be required to disclose which projects he or she funded?
1) Yes, I would support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding.
2) Yes, I believe in transparent government, every legislator should be required to disclose which projects he or she funded.
- Do you support or oppose requiring lobbyists to disclose which bills they advocate for or against?
Because I believe in transparent government, I would support requiring lobbyists to disclose which bills they advocate for or against to ensure we only budget what is absolutely needed.
- New Mexico is highly reliant on the oil and natural gas industries to generate revenue to fund state programs, as evidenced by recent oil boom and bust cycles. What are the things you would do to diversify the state’s economy and revenue base?
I would propose legislation to make New Mexico a more prosperous business-friendly state by eliminating burdensome regulations, eliminating wasteful spending, implementing a “Tax Payers Bill of Rights” eliminate corporate taxes, and eliminate taxes on social security benefits. These actions will incentivize corporations to do business in New Mexico and incentivize individuals to stay and /or relocate to New Mexico. We would increase the tax base without raising taxes. Also see my response to question #2.
- Do you support or oppose updating the current prohibition in the law on assisted suicide in order to allow aid-in-dying under certain medical circumstances?
I’m adamantly opposed to any legalization that would allow for doctor assisted suicide because it is a slippery slope and not in the best interest of New Mexicans. It would threaten our society by cheapening the value of human life and may lead to worse care for the elderly and the terminally ill.
- Would you support or oppose a moratorium on fracking? And should the state impose additional renewable energy mandates as a way to address climate change concerns?
1) No, I would oppose a moratorium on fracking. 2) No, not at the expense of economic prosperity and jobs in New Mexico. The elimination of fracking would have no significant effect on climate change because the vast majority of man caused pollution is coming from Asia and the less advanced nations of the world.
- What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?
Everyone in New Mexico deserves to live in safe neighborhoods without the fear of violent criminals roaming our communities. I would propose stricter penalties for violent offenders and to Stop the Revolving Door of “Catch and Release.” I will enforce current state laws and regulations to end sanctuary/immigration friendly cities and counties and hold those responsible for sheltering illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes.
- Do you support or oppose the practice of legislative budget-writing committees holding closed-door meetings during the crafting of state spending bills?
I believe that government should be fully transparent therefore I believe that legislative budget-writing should be in open session.
- Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
- Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
- Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.